Visualizing the vast problem of marine debris

mdc.jpgWith the fifth international Marine Debris Conference taking place this week in Hawaii, Google and NOAA (the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) have put together some resources to help visualize this growing problem. The conference aims to help provide tools and information, as well as to inspire innovation.
To that end, Google and NOAA have built a tour to showcase some of the major problems our oceans are facing, as well as the main sources of marine debris around the world. To view the tour, you can view the tour in the Ocean Gallery, download it as a KMZ file, or watch the video below:

For more, check out the Google Lat Long Blog or the official NOAA website.

About Mickey Mellen

Mickey has been using Google Earth since it was released in 2005, and has created a variety of geo-related sites including Google Earth Hacks. He runs a web design firm in Marietta, GA, where he lives with his wife and two kids.


  1. Marine debris???
    Please STOP the euphemistic vocabulary pushed by the plastics industry and NOAA. It is “plastic pollution”, not “marine debris”.
    We believe that the term “marine debris” (used consistently by the plastics industry) is euphemistic, vague, and ineffective. We are here to talk about plastic pollution in the oceans, plastic pollution on land, and plastic pollution in our bodies. Let’s call it what it is!

  2. Manuel,
    “Marine debris” is a catchall term for anything that ends up in the ocean (flip flops, bottles, trees, refrigerators…) and on shores from the ocean (transported from elsewhere by the ocean).
    Yes, much of the longer-term material issues are plastics, but not all. And, certainly, not all marine debris (ocean trash, pacific poo, free floating recyclables, what have you…) is plastic. “Marine debris” may very well not be a rally-call at a… well, rally, but it certainly does effectively describe the material under discussion.
    Plastic pollution is certainly a huge and very pressing problem. Just don’t disregard the other components by associating a general term with a single piece of the issue.
    Yes, I know this comment is late, but I expect other people to stumble on this page and I want to provide a less-strident approach to the terminology.

Leave a Reply